Logging Policy: In our selection, there are only VPNs that do not log the user’s activity. All these providers state very clearly in their privacy policy that they do not log anything. In case any government or agency asks the VPN company for user logs, they have nothing to show them. In our opinion, a VPN that saves the activity of their users is not respecting online anonymity. Therefore, it does not deserve a place on our list.
What that means in practice is that VPNs are fine for bypassing geo-blocks, for protecting your online banking and for keeping business communications free from interception. However, if you’re using the internet to fight repressive regimes or to do anything else that could attract the attention of the authorities where you live, a VPN is not a magic wand that’ll make you invisible.
VPN (or virtual private network) services create a secure, encrypted connection between your computer and a VPN server at another location. That type of secure connection is a worthwhile investment for anyone who wants to wrap their data in an extra layer of privacy and security, especially when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks. But a VPN is not a magic bullet for Internet security and won’t make you anonymous online.

When we took at look at your five favorite VPN service providers, we noticed a few things. First, being the “best” is big business for VPN providers, and they’ll fight dirty to be one of them. Second, there are so many VPN providers that it’s difficult to choose a really good one. VPNs are not all created equally, and in this post, we’re going to look at what a VPN is, why you want one, and how to pick the best one for you. Let’s get started.
We also like how easy it is to connect, and how clear and accessible the settings are, on all platforms when using the IVPN app. (ChromeOS has an option to use a less-secure VPN protocol with most providers, including IVPN. But TorGuard, our budget pick, supports the more secure OpenVPN on Chromebooks and tablets.) If you do want to tweak some settings, IVPN has easy-to-understand checkboxes for most options. For example, the kill switch (labeled “firewall”) has an easy on/off toggle. Anytime it’s on and the app is open, all traffic in and out of your computer will cut off if you forget to connect to the service or the secure connection drops for some reason.
ButterflyVPN Router is suitable for anyone who seeks a safe and secure way to access the internet and any region-blocked content. Coming in the form of a mini-size USB portable wireless VPN router, this solution is quick and easy to start up as it simply requires users to plug the device in any internet-powered area. Its portability makes ButterflyVPN Router ideal for employees out on business trips, travelers, bloggers, or anyone who is looking to access the internet on the go. It supports all types of internet-capable platform, from mobile devices and laptops to gaming consoles such as Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox.
An impressive and fast VPN service, Buffered VPN offers total online security and world-class customer support. The service boasts of providing access to content from any country in the world. This is achieved through the service’s server locations in 45 countries. It supports Windows, Linux and Mac platforms, but can also be set up on Android and iOS. The service offers excellent latencies and fast upload speeds, very good for browsing.

Do you want to watch your favorite sports teams? A VPN for streaming sports is your solution. The lucrative nature of sports licensing means that television channels are forbidden from showing games that are outside of their region or license. VPNs like Express VPN are a great way to watch your favorite teams securely and privately because you will be able to stream games at high-quality and top speed. A simple VPN download can hence save the day for you.
ISPs (Internet service providers) have a much broader reach than any individual website when it comes to what behavior they can track and what types of information they technically and legally can collect. But few ISPs are transparent about how much information about their customers they store and for how long, instead relying on broad disclosures in their fine print. In theory, a VPN will prevent an ISP from monitoring or logging all the traffic to and from your home Internet connection, because your data is encrypted as it passes through your ISP—at best they’d see gibberish passing from your home to a VPN server.

The service has around a hundred servers around the world, in all continents. Server switching is facilitated on the line from just about anywhere. This feature is ideal for use by those who need to reach different locations or those who are in obscure places. Connection speed is relatively fast, with the service offering unlimited bandwidth. Albeit significant lag can be experienced during connection, such is resolved in just a few minutes.
Before anything else, understand that if you want to use a VPN you should be paying for it. Free VPNs are either selling your browsing data in aggregated form to researchers and marketers, or giving you a paltry amount of data transfer every month. Either way, a basic rule of thumb is that a free VPN will not protect your privacy in any meaningful way.
PrivateVPN is a zero-logs Swedish provider. It features a firewall-based system Kill Switch and application-level kill switch, which is great. Full IPv4 and IPv6 DNS leak protection is also built-in to its client. We have been particularly impressed by PrivateVPN’s high level of customer service, which even features remote installation for technophobes! A cracking 6 simultaneous devices, port forwarding, HTTPS and SOCKS5 proxies all make PrivateVPN a very enticing option for those that want to get the most out of their VPN.

If you need a more affordable VPN than our top pick and don’t have an Apple device—or if you need ChromeOS support—we recommend TorGuard. Its apps aren’t as simple or user-friendly, but TorGuard is a good option for more tech-savvy people or those willing to spend a little more time fiddling with an app. TorGuard’s CEO has built trust by talking with media outlets (including us) and detailing the company’s commitment to a service built around a lack of activity logs. Though the apps aren’t as easy to use as our top pick, the connections were the fastest of any we tested and the company has more than twice as many server locations.


Christian Cawley is a Deputy Editor at MakeUseOf, covering security, Linux, DIY and programming, with extensive experience in desktop and software support. Christian is a regular contributor to Linux User & Developer magazine, as well as specials including Raspberry Pi for Beginners, and Raspberry Pi for Kids. He's a Raspberry Pi tinkerer, Android user, podcaster and foodie.


What sort of things should you look for when trying to find the top VPN software online? Well, in this day and age there is really no reason why internet users should settle with having all of their data tracked. Analytics tools are one of the biggest offenders, and they will harvest information relating to your gender, age, and location. Take a look at this FTC warning and recommendation on using a virtual private network while traveling. 

You’ve probably heard that we’ve run out of IP addresses and that’s technically true. IPv4 consists of 32 bits and can support 4.29 billion addresses. All of those available addresses have been allocated, but not all of them have been used and the overwhelming majority of internet addresses are IPv4 addresses. The latest IP version, IPv6, uses 128-bit addresses and can support 340,282,366,920,938,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 addresses. Now that IPv6 is available, we won’t have to worry about IP address scarcity again anytime soon.

Using a VPN, all data traffic is confined to a private, encrypted tunnel until they reach the public Internet. Destinations cannot be accessed until after the end of the VPN tunnel is reached. VPN services are quite useful in workplaces, especially for those who use mobile devices in accessing data from a work server. However, the most common use of VPN software is to remain anonymous to ISPs, websites or governments. This is true for users who download files illegally, such as in the case of copyrighted torrent files.
Perfect Privacy’s network is composed entirely of dedicated, bare-metal servers that provide you with fast speeds, high security, and plenty of bandwidth at all times (you can see real-time server bandwidth here). Like ExpressVPN, Perfect Privacy has also passed real-world tests that verified their no logging claims, when one their server was seized in Rotterdam (customer data remained safe).
We also like how easy it is to connect, and how clear and accessible the settings are, on all platforms when using the IVPN app. (ChromeOS has an option to use a less-secure VPN protocol with most providers, including IVPN. But TorGuard, our budget pick, supports the more secure OpenVPN on Chromebooks and tablets.) If you do want to tweak some settings, IVPN has easy-to-understand checkboxes for most options. For example, the kill switch (labeled “firewall”) has an easy on/off toggle. Anytime it’s on and the app is open, all traffic in and out of your computer will cut off if you forget to connect to the service or the secure connection drops for some reason.
While a VPN can aid privacy and anonymity, I wouldn’t recommend fomenting the next great political revolution by relying solely on a VPN. Some security experts argue that a commercial VPN is better than a free proxy such as the TOR network for political activity, but a VPN is only part of the solution. To become an internet phantom (or as close as you can realistically get to one), it takes a lot more than a $7 monthly subscription to a VPN.
Despite some of the drawbacks, ZorroVPN is an interesting service if you are looking for advanced online anonymity. With their OpenVPN file config generator, you can create unique VPN chains with the Tor network and proxies (up to four hops). Unlike with Perfect Privacy, however, these multi-hop configurations cannot be dynamically changed within the VPN client.
VPN.ac is another great VPN for torrenting. It was created by a team of network security professionals with a focus on security and quality. Their server network is composed entirely of dedicated bare-metal servers offering excellent bandwidth and security. (Check out their real-time bandwidth stats by selecting VPN Nodes Status at the top of the site.)
ExpressVPN is also one of the best VPN services available for streaming. Whether you are using a VPN with Kodi or streaming Netflix with a VPN, ExpressVPN offers great apps for streaming devices and high-speed bandwidth for HD videos and downloads. Their customer service is also top-notch, with 24/7 live chat support and a 30 day money-back guarantee with all subscription plans. [Learn more >]
TorGuard’s signup and payment process is also fine but not stellar. Compared with that of IVPN, the checkout process is clunky, and using a credit or debit card requires entering more personal information than with our top pick. The easiest option for anonymous payments is a prepaid debit card bought locally. Otherwise, like most providers, TorGuard accepts a variety of cryptocurrencies, PayPal, and foreign payments through Paymentwall. That last service also allows you to submit payment through gift cards from other major retailers. We don’t think this method is worth the hassle for most people, but if you have some money on a fast-food gift card you don’t want, turning it into a VPN service is a nice option.

That attitude to the safety and privacy of personal data creates an enormous risk when it comes to online security. Public Wi-Fi networks, which are ubiquitous and convenient, are unfortunately also highly convenient for attackers looking to compromise your personal information. How do you know, for example, that "starbucks_wifi_real" is actually the Wi-Fi network for the coffee shop? Anyone could have created that network, and they may have done so in order to lure victims into disclosing personal information over it. In fact, a popular security researcher prank is to create a network with the same name as a free, popular service and see how many devices will automatically connect because it appears safe.
Normally your connection—and the data carried over it—goes from your computer to your local Wi-Fi or network router, then bounces on through your ISP’s network and off to the destination server (like wirecutter.com), eventually returning with the requested data (like this webpage). At any stop along the way, someone could theoretically see the data and where it’s coming from and going to.
NordVPN is envied for its impressive security ensured by the support for all the usual security protocols, an automatic kill switch, 256-bit encryption, as well as double data encryption. This particular feature makes sure that your data goes through two separate VPN servers, thus adding another layer of security. If you’re worried about your privacy, don’t be. NordVPN has a clear no-logs policy.
Another great VPN service for torrenting is NordVPN. NordVPN is a Panama-based VPN provider with a strict no logs policy and a nice lineup. It performed well in testing for the review and continues to offer one of the best values for your money with the 66% discount coupon. While there is some variability in the network speeds, NordVPN still offers solid performance for torrenting and P2P downloads.
When it comes to reliability, you can count on Demonoid. The popular BitTorrent tracker was launched in 2003, the same year as The Pirate Bay, and it’s had its own fair share of downtime due to political pressure. The site with over 10 million users has over 800,000 torrent files and provides torrents for movies, TV series, music, books, applications, and games. Our research shows that Demonoid has more movies and TV series than other files, followed by music.

In this scenario, it is harder to identify a specific user, but by combining multiple pieces of metadata it may still be possible (especially if the users' session lasts a long time). For example, if the IP address in question was reported to have downloaded a 4GB file, and only one account matching that IP address had transferred more than 1GB of data, it would be obvious which account was to blame. This assumes of course that the offender downloaded the entire 4GB file and not just part of it (which isn't always a valid assumption). 
We considered native apps for Windows, Mac, and Android to be mandatory because they’re easier to use than open-source or third-party VPN apps like Tunnelblick; that in turn makes it easier to stay secure. For more-advanced users, adding VPN connections to Wi-Fi routers can help secure all connections on a home network without having to manage devices individually.
We summarize the protocols above, and look at them in detail in VPN Encryption: The Complete Guide. Although L2TP/IPsec is fine for most purposes, we only really recommend OpenVPN and IKEv2. OpenVPN is very secure if properly configured. Indeed, Edward Snowden’s documents showed that even the NSA can’t crack well-implemented OpenVPN. It is also supported by almost every provider.  But it is relatively slow. The newer IKEv2 is much faster and is considered secure, but has not been battle-tested in the way that OpenVPN has. It is not as well supported at present, although it is increasingly popular with providers thanks to its speed advantages over OpenVPN.
VPN services are entirely legal and legitimate in most countries. It's completely legal to mask your IP address and encrypt your internet traffic. There is nothing about using a VPN that's illegal and VPN services themselves do not and cannot do anything illegal. The only thing that's illegal is if you were to break the law while using a VPN - for instance if you were to infringe on someone's copyright. But that's the action of infringement that's illegal, not the use of the VPN.
A powerful VPN service, SaferVPN is very useful in hiding users’ IP addresses. It also allows access to blocked websites or safely share information. Privacy is also ensured as the service uses high security protocols. It offers a unique Automatic Wi-Fi Security feature which instantly activates a secure and encrypted VPN connection as soon as someone’s device connects to an unsecured Wi-Fi connection — automatically protecting them from public Wi-Fi threats. Likewise, it features single-click applications for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and Chrome.
TunnelBear has some strong supporters among Wirecutter’s staff. The company has a public history of transparency, staff listings, and the clearest privacy policy of any VPN service we’ve found, plus TunnelBear is one of the only VPNs to release a public audit of its system. But the service was one of the least reliable we tried. In four of our 18 connection tests, we managed broadband speeds; in a handful of others TunnelBear was well below the average, and in even more it failed to provide a usable connection at all. As we were writing this guide, security giant McAfee announced that it had acquired TunnelBear. Fans of the service should keep an eye out for changes to its privacy stance and transparency as the US-based firm takes over.
Certain Kodi add-ons also source video streams from torrents. Keep an eye out in particular for a newer platform called Acestreams. Acestreams use peer-to-peer bittorrent connections so concurrent users can share the load of a stream. That means your connection is shared with others, causing potential security and privacy issues that can usually be averted with a torrent VPN. Acestreams are increasingly popular for both live and on-demand content.
TorGuard is incorporated in St. Kitts and Nevis, and operates out of offices mostly in the US. But most people shouldn’t be worried about the legal jurisdiction of their VPN’s offices—we detail the reach of government surveillance above. In short, we think a privacy-focused VPN with public leadership that can be trusted not to collect information about their customers is a better choice in any country, rather than an opaque company run from the most liberty-ensuring country on the planet.
VPN.ac is another great VPN for torrenting. It was created by a team of network security professionals with a focus on security and quality. Their server network is composed entirely of dedicated bare-metal servers offering excellent bandwidth and security. (Check out their real-time bandwidth stats by selecting VPN Nodes Status at the top of the site.)
VPNGate is a fantastic academic initiative out of Japan that aims to uncensor the web for people living under oppressive anti-free speech regimes. It uses a network of volunteer nodes around the world as relays. It discourages P2P filesharing activities that would hog the network, however, and it keeps logs for up to three months to help weed out abuse and criminal wrongdoing.
Like NordVPN, it also has all the must-have features for P2P traffic, but with one caveat: if you want more than the standard 256-bit encryption you’re going to have to mess with the configuration files yourself. Doing so can up your encryption as high as 4096 bits (that’s ridiculously secure), but it does require getting your hands a little dirty.

Our mission is to provide anyone who wants it with access to a safe and private internet connection. We are the only VPN service that exerts full control over its entire infrastructure. From network architecture and customer support, to our physical hardware and software development, every part of IPVanish is owned and operated by us at IPVanish. This independent style of operation enables us to maintain an airtight zero-logging policy. No other VPN service can match that level of security when they’re borrowing network components.
We used to advise people to do banking and other important business over their cellular connection when using a mobile device, since it is generally safer than connecting with a public Wi-Fi network. But even that isn't always a safe bet. Researchers have demonstrated how a portable cell tower, such as a femtocell, can be used for malicious ends. The attack hinges on jamming the LTE and 3G bands, which are secured with strong encryption, and forcing devices to connect with a phony tower over the less-secure 2G band. Because the attacker controls the fake tower, he can carry out a man-in-the-middle attack and see all the data passing over the cellular connection. Admittedly, this is an exotic attack, but it's far from impossible.
Most people leave their privacy and security vulnerable in ways that are easier to fix with methods other than signing up for a VPN—methods that are potentially more effective. If you have a drafty house with paper-thin walls and halogen light bulbs, you'd get far more value out of every dollar by sealing cracks, insulating, and switching to LEDs than you would by putting solar panels on your roof. Similarly, before you rush to sign up for a VPN subscription, you should consider these other ways to up your privacy game.
Avast SecureLine VPN offers good overall performance and steady connections, and it was the best of the limited-feature services we tested in 2017. But at $80 per year for software installation on five devices, it's more expensive than any full-fledged VPN service that doesn't limit installations. A single Mac or PC license is $60, while iOS or Android licenses are $20 each.
One of the platform’s notable features is its ability to provide fast connection speeds. VPN software are known to reduce Internet speeds significantly, but with SaferVPN, you won’t even notice any speed reduction. The service also allows multiple user accounts at both personal and business levels. Customer support is available 24/7, which include email, tickets, live chats and a comprehensive knowledge base.
However, the law states that fines cannot be artificially high, so damages that copyright holders can exact are capped. Early in 2018, Netherlands’ privacy watchdog, Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens (AP), gave permission to Dutch Filmworks to collect IP addresses of anyone illegally downloading content. The company can hand out fines to users and have decided on a fee of 150 Euros per film.
This means that, unfortunately, it is up to individuals to protect themselves. Antivirus apps and password managers go a long way toward keeping you safer, but a VPN is a uniquely powerful tool that you should definitely have in your personal security toolkit, especially in today's connected world. Whether you opt for a free service or even go all-in with an encrypted router, having some way to encrypt your internet traffic is critically important.
Fergus is the chief editor and resident curmudgeon of Cloudwards.net. After finishing a degree in history at the University of Amsterdam he bid farewell to the cold northern climes and started a career as a newspaperman in the Far East. Realizing after a few years that online publishing is way more fun than the paper kind, he now bosses the team around over the internet and works himself into a lather on behalf of consumers everywhere. Contact him at fergus [at] cloudwards.net, though be warned that he has a very low tolerance for drivel.
Whether the VPNs you’re familiar with are the ones offered by your school or business to help you work or stay connected when you’re traveling or the ones you pay to get you watch your favorite shows in another country as they air, they’re all doing the same thing. For much more detail on what VPNs are, how they work, and how they’re used, check out this How Stuff Works article.
We spent more than 130 hours over four months researching 32 VPN services, testing 12, interviewing the leadership of five, and consulting information security and legal experts about our results. We found that most people should prioritize other security tools and privacy practices first, but in the cases where a VPN makes sense—such as when you're connecting to public Wi-Fi—IVPN is the most trustworthy provider that offers fast, secure connections with an easy setup process on both computers and mobile devices.
CyberGhost offers real big bang for your buck. While it has a very low price point, the list of features are up there with the best of them. No bandwidth limits (which is a must for torrenters), 5 simultaneous connections, strong encryption and a watertight logging policy all add up to a robust VPN package. CyberGhost has a global coverage with decent local (burst) speeds. The team is a major supporter and promoter of civil rights, a free society and an uncensored internet culture. Our kind of folks!

Trust and transparency issues are the foremost concerns in choosing a great VPN, and if a service doesn’t have enough locations to be useful to you, all the security features won’t make a difference. But after those concerns have been satisfied, we recommend that most people use connections based on the OpenVPN protocol, because of security flaws and disadvantages in the PPTP and L2TP/IPsec protocols. (Experienced users may consider IKEv2, but because it has its own debated pros and cons, we ruled it out.) Though AES 128-bit encryption is fine for most purposes, we prefer services that default to the more-secure 256-bit encryption and still offer good performance.


I am very disappointed with this turn of events. This is misguiding readers that are not savvy in vpn or security. Please add corrections or make an add article to cover the logging methods of these vpns providers. In some countries correct choice of vpn can make a big different in life or death. Vpns arent for downloading pirated soft games and movies or music.
The main reason to use a VPN is security - in theory, the data that travels across your VPN should be impossible for anybody else to intercept, so it can protect your online banking or confidential business communications - but there are other benefits too. VPNs can make it much harder for advertising to track you online, and they can overcome geography-specific blocks that prevent you from accessing some country-specific services such as online video.

Torrenting enables very fast download speeds for large files by connecting with several other users. An obvious downside of torrenting, then, is the privacy and security concerns that come with the territory of connecting to several other Internet users at once, allowing all of them to share pieces of files and see your IP address. This makes it imperative to choose a VPN with great security features for the user looking to download torrented files.
As for security, the Panama-based provider prides itself with military-grade 256-bit encryption, an automatic kill switch (which prevents your data from being exposed should a VPN connection unexpectedly drop), as well as double data encryption, meaning your data goes through two separate VPN servers. In addition, NordPVN has a strict no-logs policy, so your private information is safe from prying eyes.
As we discussed previously TunnelBear is a particularly good way to enjoy US-only web content Access US-Only Websites Internationally For Free With TunnelBear Access US-Only Websites Internationally For Free With TunnelBear If you’re living outside of the United States, here’s a familiar scenario for you. You’re reading your favorite tech blog, and suddenly see a post about the latest and greatest in web services. Maybe it’s... Read More , including video and audio. Easy to use, there’s also a $9.99/month option, if an annual subscription is out of your budget range. A free version is also available, detailed below. Check our full review of TunnelBear TunnelBear: The Easiest VPN For Protecting Your Privacy TunnelBear: The Easiest VPN For Protecting Your Privacy TunnelBear aims to simplify the VPN, making it useful for everyone. Its commitment to protecting your privacy online makes it a great provider. Read More for more details.
That said, using a VPN service may help keep your data from being captured by some types of passive data collection, and in countries with less sophisticated and less well-funded intelligence agencies, a trustworthy VPN service is better than nothing. We asked Kalia if the standards that most VPNs use are secure against government intrusion. He outlined three ways that VPN traffic could be vulnerable:
For two years running, Private Internet Access has performed the best in our network tests and remained the cheapest full-fledged VPN service we've tried. It has more than 3,000 servers worldwide, supports platforms ranging from Windows and Mac to open-source routers, and lets you customize your tunneling and encryption protocols. You can pay in bitcoin, and you don't have to provide your real name.

Depending on the service you select, even the provider may have limited, if any, information on you. For example, some services don’t require an email address, a bank-associated method of payment, or even your name. You may have the option of only using a login ID and chosen password, and the chance to use fairly anonymous payment methods like BitCoin. Additionally, most of the best VPN services don’t store any information about your activities while your connection is live, ensuring that no one is keeping a record of the sites you visit or the activities in which you participate.
Torrent users looks two things in any VPN they want to use. First the number of servers a vpn provides and secondly the price of the VPN software. Express VPN provides thousands of servers which are comparatively fast and secured by encryption. While torrenting our main concentration is our privacy and expressVPN integrated DNS leak protection and kill switch features so that you don’t need to worry about unwanted notices from ISP or Corporations.
Their best plan is 1-year subscription plan: $6.99 ($83.88). While their monthly price of $11.95 is at the high end of the spectrum (and they did lose a few points for that), their yearly price of $83.88 is lower than most our contenders. And yes, they also have a full 30-day refund policy. NordVPN also offers a dedicated IP option, for those looking for a different level of VPN connection. They do offer $2.99/month (75% discount) for a 3-year plan .
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